Schools in Costa Rica will return to in-person classes as of February 8th, 2021

Attendees will have to wear masks

The Costa Rican 2021 school year will start on February 8th under a modality that combines in-person and virtual classes. The measure was announced on the afternoon of December 15th  by the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, during the press conference on the state of national emergency due to the novel Coronavirus.

The return to the classrooms, according to the Minister of Public Education, Giselle Cruz Maduro, will require that everyone attending the classes wear a mask and comply with a distance of 1.8 meters. Likewise, the Minister explained that there will be an alternation according to the capacity and enrollment of each educational center.

This means a 3/2 format in which, for example, a student can attend three days for in-person teaching and the remaining two will receive the lessons remotely, from home. Other possibilities are two days in-person and three virtual classes (2/3) or four in-person and one virtual (4/1). The priority of in-person will be for students with fewer possibilities of Internet connection, according to Cruz Maduro.

Gradual reincorporation

When a student has to attend their school, they will have to do it for up to four hours in the case of academic modalities, while in the technical schools it will be six hours. The entry and exit times will be progressive: first the students of the lower levels will do it, under an organization planned by each educational center and that takes into account health protocols.

Also, Cruz indicated that each group will function as a bubble, so the members of it will have to share the times of recess, which will have to be done in a staggered manner. Students will have to wash their hands when leaving and entering the classroom. Meanwhile, the delivery of food packages will be maintained. The reopening of the school canteens will be under analysis.

The directors of the educational centers, in coordination with their Regional Directorates and Supervisions, will define the days and hours in which the students will attend. During the first two weeks, the higher grades will begin and the rest of the grades will gradually be incorporated.

All of the above is part of the Ministry’s Return Strategy, developed by an interdisciplinary group that began its work the previous April, shortly after in-person classes were suspended. The measures were coordinated with the Ministry of Health, according to the official.

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